Researchers in the Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo, Ebonyi State, have been charged to be original and forthright in executing their researches to avoid academic recycle, theft and plagiarism.

The Vice Chancellor, Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo, Professor Chinedum Nwajiuba, gave this charge while declaring open a one-day research workshop organized by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences to present Tetfund-funded research titled ‘Banking the Poor, Accessibility and Affordability’.

The Vice Chancellor reminded researchers to always communicate with the research community and relevant stakeholders and acquaint them with their research findings. He noted that this will not only add value to their research efforts but also provide a spectrum for future references.

He also charged them to always forward their research findings and final reports to his office which would be distributed to the various stakeholders involved in the research.

Earlier in a keynote address, the leader of the research team, Dr. Onyebuchi Chima, disclosed that their quest to probe into this novel research area was necessitated by the need to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor in accessing banking services.

He revealed that only 18.7% of the Nigerians have access and could afford banking services according to the studies conducted by World Bank Group in 2014, stressing that the poor representation invoked their burning desire to probe into why most Nigerians were financially excluded in accessing loans and other financial transactions.

Dr.  Chima equally noted that the entire Nigerian financial markets like the Micro Finance Banks, Cooperative Societies, Pension Schemes, Insurance schemes and Commercial Banks were mainly concentrated in the urban areas, leaving the majority poor that reside in the rural areas unbanked.

Other members of the research team included Dr. Ethelbert Okoronkwo, Dr. Vivian Njemanze, Mr. Ikechukwu Ukeje, Mrs. Emmanella Anozie and Miss Victoria Obasi.

The workshop had Sir. O. O. Nwanna,  GMB Micro Finance Bank, Nibo, Awka, Anambra State; Stephen Ugwu, Premium Pension; Dr. Onuorah Nweke, FUNAI Cooperative Society; James Obioma, Abia State Micro Finance Bank and Chibueze Nwankwo representing Zenith Bank PLC as discussants.

The discussants gave an insight to the challenges confronting the rural dwellers in accessing banking institutions and their services to include, among others,  insecurity, fear of failed banks, high bank charges, bureaucratic bottlenecks in opening account, inaccessible road networks, and cost of maintaining generators, staff salaries and so on and suggested that literacy awareness should be vigorously embarked upon to sensitize rural dwellers.

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